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I l l i n o i s


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Campaign Disclosure Law
Electronic Filing Program
Disclosure Content Accessibility
Online Contextual & Technical Usability

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The State of Disclosure in Illinois

Illinois has one of the best campaign finance disclosure programs in the nation. However, its overall B grade shows that Illinois has some room for improvement, particularly in its campaign finance disclosure law.

Illinois law requires candidates to file semi-annual reports in non-election years and three reports before an election. Candidates must disclose information about contributors who give more than $150, but a contributor's occupation and employer is only required for contributions greater than $500. Last-minute contributions of $500 or more, made in the last 30 days before the election, must be disclosed within 2 business days. Expenditures greater than $150 are required to be disclosed, but subvendor information does not have to be reported. There is no independent expenditure reporting. Electronic filing is required when a candidate reaches a threshold of $25,000 or more (on July 1, 2003, the threshold was lowered to $10,000).

Illinois does a very good job of making campaign finance information accessible to the public. The state makes campaign finance data available on its web site within 5 days of being filed. Detailed campaign finance information is available for all electronic filings, but only summary information is available for paper filers. There are databases of contributions and expenditures that can be searched across all filers for individual contributors, and for dates and amounts of contributions and expenditures. The state could improve the site by also offering its data in a downloadable format to enable searching and sorting offline.

The contextual and technical usability of Illinois' web site is the best in the nation. The site features a very clear “Guide to Disclosure” with details about campaign finance restrictions and reporting requirements, the text of the disclosure law, as well as information about proposed amendments to disclosure rules. There is also a “Money and Elections Report” that provides the public with an overview of campaign financing in Illinois, and clear and thorough instructions appear throughout the site. Both original filings and clearly labeled amendments are available; a comprehensive list of candidates and other contextual information help the public understand which reports and data are included in the campaign finance database. Even though the site is rich in contextual information and it ranked first, Illinois received a B+ grade in this category, which is due largely to the difficulty of locating the disclosure agency's web site from the state homepage.

Disclosure Agency: State Board of Elections
Disclosure Web Site:

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This page was first published on September 17, 2003
| Last updated on September 17, 2003
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